Monthly Archives: January 2017

Should Your Dog Sleep With You?

Did you know that dogs sleep more than humans? In fact, the average dog sleeps between 12 – 14 hours a day on and off and a pup can sleep up to 18 hours. Sometimes your dog will snooze during the day in his dog bed. Then before you know it, he is sneaking his way onto the edge of your bed or even burrowing under the blankets.

This begs the question I am often asked by my clients: should I let my dog sleep with me?

Many expect my response to be no. But the answer really depends on what behaviors we’re working on.

There are also many good reasons for your dog to not sleep with you.  A dog who toilets in the middle of the night might be better off sleeping in a crate.  A dog who is injured or elderly probably shouldn’t be jumping on and off the bed.  I also recommend your dog not sleep with you if he/she has shown aggression towards you.

Additionally, you may decide to oust your dog from the bed for:

  • Snoring (the dog that is)
  • Gas (again the dog)
  • Bed hog — Dogs really like to get comfortable when they sleep. They might burrow deep under the covers, sleep between your legs, sleep on your pillow, or even on your head.  Needless to say, this is not conducive to you getting a good night’s sleep
  • Disturbing your sleep by wanting to play.
  • Scratching and licking (still referring to the dog)
  • Not enough room. A small dog is one thing but an 80-pound dog can take up a lot of room unless you have a bed like this!
  • Allergies (finally the human). Many clients have told me their allergies clear up once the dog stops sleeping in bed with them. No matter how many times you wash your sheets and blankets, fur and dander still flies!

If you need to teach your dog to sleep elsewhere be prepared for a few sleepless nights.  You may need to get up several times in the night to redirect them to their bed, crate or other piece of furniture.

Some friends were really frustrated by their dog continually jumping up on the bed in the middle of the night, so they leashed their dog to the wall.  They are now quite experienced in drywall repair.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

If none of the above applies to you and your dog then where the dog sleeps is a personal decision. In fact, a recent survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers found that 42 percent of all dog owners allow their pooches to sleep in the bed with them at night. n. found that 42 percent of all dog owners allow their pooches to sleep in the bed with them at night.

As long as you are all comfortable and safe, I have no problem that your bed is occupied with your dog.

Why The Whole Family Needs to Participate in Dog Training

The other day I received a call wanting to book a dog training lesson and the woman mentioned that her husband and kids would be out of town so it was the perfect time to focus on her dog and overcoming his incessant barking issue. I asked her if the whole family would normally be around the dog. The answer was yes. I told her it would be best we delay the dog training until we could do family dog training when everyone was home..

Why?

I have another client who told me that her husband had been the “Top Dog” with his 5-year-old Labrador named CUDA. He was the one who did most of the training and the one who fed and played with the dog. CUDA and he went everywhere together. Unfortunately, her husband had unexpected hip surgery and was going to be in a rehab center for a month. CUDA was distraught and unwilling to listen to any of her commands.

Why?

Dogs thrive on routine. They are creatures of habit. They like to know they are going to eat at a certain time, take a daily walk, and go to sleep in the same place. Dogs do not benefit from chaos. They like to know “what is going to happen next”.

That is why it is so important that all family members are on the same page with dog training. If not, dogs get confused and confused dogs often misbehave and display high levels of anxiety. On the other hand, well-balanced dogs that are secure in their environment, routine and day-to-day lives find it much easier to weather any changes or upsets that do come along from time to time, whether planned for or unexpected.

Daily Routine
I encourage all my clients to establish a daily routine that includes feeding times, walking times, play times and quiet times all regularly scheduled into the dog’s day at times that he can rely upon. Switch off with feeding and walking. Use the same body language and vocal tones to get your dog’s attention.

Dogs are a lot like babies who thrive on a set schedule.

Think how ludicrous it would sound if one parent said to the other: “I am not going to participate in child rearing or training the child. You do it all by yourself.” It’s the same with dogs. Everybody who interacts with the dog on a daily basis needs to participate in a dog training program so the dog knows exactly what is expected of him. No matter who is issuing the command to “sit or come”, a well-trained dog will follow with the correct behavior.

Training a dog also takes patience and time. Much like any sport, dog training involves not only a detailed understanding by all family members but most importantly practice, practice, practice. It’s best if all the responsibility doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders.

Here’s the bottom line. If you want a well-behaved dog that is a great family companion, EVERYONE in the family needs to participate in the FUN and devotion of dog training. It is important for all family members to know what to do and not to do to encourage and change behavior that you all want to achieve. If family members do not practice with the dog, everyone will suffer. Your dog will have an infinitely harder time learning and your job just got a lot more difficult and frustrating unless participation is 100%!